Apple’s New Macs Won’t be Powered by Intel Kaby Lake Chips
Intel has begun shipping its 7th generation Kaby Lake processors. The new family of CPUs is based on the same 14nm process as the predecessors Broadwell and Skylake do, making it the first to break the traditional “tick-tock” refresh cycle for processors.
For years, Intel has stuck to the tick-tock model, releasing two generations based on the same process node. The tick moved to a new process node improving efficiency while the tock used to bring some major architectural changes to the CPU in the subsequent year.
The strategy served Intel well during all these years however, it resulted in causing long delays for the last two chip releases. This forced Intel to devise a new strategy called “Process, Architecture and Optimization,” that would help it release new chip updates more frequently.
Under this strategy, Kaby Lake comes with optimizations to both 14nm process and microarchitecture on which the previous Skylake is based. Thanks to these optimizations, the new chips now offer support for Thunderbolt 3, native USB 3.1, and DisplayPort 1.2.
As far as Apple’s Macs are concerned, Intel’s chip delays over the last few years also impacted the refresh cycles of these products, resulting in long periods of times between updates. The launch of Kaby Lake was expected to be followed by a new crop of Macs, including the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac, but it seems like that is not going to happen the following year.
Although we don’t have details on which Kaby Lake chips have started shipping, these could be low-power Core M and U-series chips if an old Intel roadmap is to be believed. These chips are unlikely to make it to the upcoming Macs given they feature GT2 graphics which won’t be suitable especially for the new Retina MacBook Pro.
Instead, Kaby Lake chips that are deemed appropriate may not launch until the beginning of 2017. Meaning, Mac updates rumored for this year may not be powered by Intel’s latest 7th gen chipset.
Will Kaby Lake affect your MacBook purchase decision? Or, do you even plan to purchase it in the first place? Let us know in the comments below.